From the Editors
Leaping into the conversation
It happens every four years. After 2016, its effects were felt until this very moment. It's something intended to provide balance and keep us on the correct path, but inevitably it ends up leaving us anxious and bewildered.
Of course, we're talking about Leap Year. Though it happens to coincide with our presidential election cycle, it often comes as a surprise, adding an extra day to the month of February in our Gregorian Calendar.
February 29 is an elusive and somewhat frustrating date, as any Leap Year baby (or "leapling") can heartily attest to. The shortest month of the year, February is still the runt of the litter even when it gets its extra boost. In short, we intercalate Leap Day to more accurately align our calendar year with the rotation of the Earth around the Sun. This trip takes approximately 365.25 days, or more accurately, 365.2422 days, known as a "tropical" or "solar" year. To accommodate this, we forgo a leap day every centurial year, save for those divisible by four, as we had one in the year 2000.
Leap Day has an ineffable strangeness built into it. Like a 24-hour period filled by Daylight Savings fallbacks, it's out of the norm, yet exists relatively free of traditions and celebrations. While it doesn't have a mascot aside from 30 Rock's absurdist "Leap Day William," it seems to beg a certain curiosity. This year, it even falls on a Saturday (we'll be due for a Waxing Crescent, so at least it won't be a Full Moon).
It's worth talking about. For example, if you type in "Leap Year" to Stitcher or Apple Podcasts, one is met with a myriad of results. The discussion continues if one searches for "Erie" in such a way. Over the past decade, podcasts have risen up as one of the most, if not the most, invigorating forms of media in this generation. Tracking the growth of this relatively new art form, Jonathan Burdick gives us a state of the medium in our local scene. Over the past few years, dozens of shows have spoken out and stood up, and Erie is no exception, providing one's feed with hundreds of hours worth of entertainment and information. Groups like Idiotville, who grace our cover — joined by No Hugging, No Learning's Ted Hallowell — are helping to add to this evolving exchange.
Such conversations are at work elsewhere of course. Liz Allen recently attended a presentation from the Boston Globe's Maria Karagianis at Gannon University, and she wasn't the only one affected by the renowned journalist. Gannon student Katie Dickey built on Karagianis' sentiments in a way, creating a new gallery pop up, which Allen also outlines.
In a dialog fit for a podcast unto itself, Ben Speggen talks to Erie Mayor Joe Schember, for a midterm review of the work he's been doing for our city. Recounting his recent cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery, Schember remains characteristically positive and transparent in these very pages.
As one of the city's preeminent forums for ideas and discussion, we couldn't be happier to continue this sort of community-wide debate. Past Leap Year and into that other, more argumentative four year tradition, we'll be refreshing that feed right with you.